Friday 19 October 2012

SNK Arcade Classics Vol.1 Review (PS2)

Capcom, Taito and Midway have had great success with arcade compilations. Now it is the turn of SNK to try their hand at bringing some of their gems from yesteryear to a new audience. We here at Retro101 couldn't wait to get our hands on this compilation as many of the games have not appeared on home systems before. As always though, there is the mix of classics and games better best forgotten.

Seeing as this package has 'Volume 1' stuck on it we assume that SNK is planning to continue to bring us games from it's past. This, in some way can help to explain why we have many of the first titles in their long running franchises. The first Art of Fighting, World Heroes, King of the Fighters and Fatal Fury games are all here. Unfortunately, they have all been bettered quite substantially by later games in their respective series̢۪ and will warrant a couple of plays each at best.

There are more titles that will have people running back to their current generation systems as well. Magician Lord is a terrible platform game that could be used as an instrument of torture. Meanwhile, Sengoku and Burning Fight are two of the dullest scrolling fighters we have ever had the misfortune to experience (and we've played Growl).

On a brighter note, the first Samurai Shodown game is included and we are delighted to say that it retains all the brilliance that made it such a hit when it was first released.  There are plenty of other reasons to smile as well. King of the Monsters, though a little basic, is still great fun to play in short bursts. Here players pick from one of six B movie monster characters and do battle in the middle of a Japanese city.

The Neo Geo sports titles put up a good show as well. Baseball Stars 2 and Neo Turf Masters still play a great game of Baseball and Golf respectively. Super Sidekicks 3 is also included and, while not the best football game ever, is still worth spending some time with.

The real highlights of the package though are some of the games making their debuts on the home consoles. Top Hunter, which recently came out on the Wii Virtual Console, is a great little oddity of a game. It's sort of a platformer crossed with Metal Slug but instead of guns our heroes have long extendable arms which they use to grab enemies and chuck them around. Last Resort, is a great side scrolling shooter which shows more than a little resemblance to R-type. Still, it is an intense score rush game that requires buckets of skill to get anywhere with and is a must for any fan of the genre.

However, the best game in the package for us is Shock Troopers. Imagine a top down version of Metal Slug and you are in the right area. The game has three different paths that can be taken and offers up some of the most intense and varied shooting action we have seen in an arcade game. You also have the option of choosing from a whole host of characters to blast your way through the levels with. The first Metal Slug game is included and, though it has already been released in its own collection, we are glad to see it here.

The first volume of the SNK collection is a real mixture. There are certain games here that we would never want to play again in a million years. But don't let that put you off as the inclusion of Shock Troopers alone makes the package worth hunting out. The fact you have some other stone cold classics in there, such as Samurai Shodown, Metal Slug and Last Resort, make this a must for any fans of classic games.


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